Iroquois is undergoing a generational change in the community right now, and will be for many years to come. Some of the promised potential of the community that was stated when St. Lawrence Seaway project moved Iroquois north from its original townsite in the 1950s is now being unlocked.
Later this week is the grand opening ribbon cutting at Ross Video, capping off a $15 million dollar expansion to its Iroquois facilities is a glimpse of what is yet to come. The recent land purchase of the former KBD Transportation facility across the road will lead to even more expansion by South Dundas’ largest private-sector employer. That means more jobs in Iroquois, more people in South Dundas, and more opportunity for the area. With ample land in the vicinity, positive growth begets positive growth, so these expansions at Ross may well attract other investment in South Dundas.
Our lead story in this week’s edition of The Leader features a planned 262 unit residential development called Merkley Oaks. This subdivision has been on the books for many years, and an Ottawa-based developer is picking up the baton to get it across the finish line. This five-to-seven year project will see homes of all types constructed, providing much needed housing. South Dundas – like many other parts of the country – lacks the high-volume, shorter term housing construction projects needed to address the national housing crisis. An ever-expanding workforce at Ross Video provides an instant market for selling these new homes – it is a win-win situation.
After the council of the day standardized the look of all water towers in South Dundas, and removed an Indigenous symbol from the Iroquois water tower, another symbol of inclusion was very recently added to Iroquois. Last weekend, contractors painted a Progress Pride flag crosswalk on Beach Street, connecting Seaway District High School to its parking lot. While the painted crosswalk is in a different location had been initially pitched last year when council approved this student-led initiative at Seaway, it provides a symbol of inclusion for those in the LGBTQ2S+ community in South Dundas.
Discouragingly, the paint was barely dry from the weekend when Monday morning rubber burnouts from vehicles vandalized the newly painted crosswalk. A similar incident happened in Prescott days after that community painted a Pride crosswalk of its own. Those involved with the Prescott vandalism were eventually charged. The Iroquois incident has been reported to police and the school does have video surveillance of the crosswalk.
It is disappointing that in these three good news stories, and three positive steps forward for Iroquois, that the actions of one or more people led to a step back. Hopefully this one small step backwards for the community does not jeopardize all the good progress that has happened to, and in, Iroquois.